Appointments Boost Dental Research Portfolio

Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry has boosted its dental research portfolio with the appointment of three new members to its research team.

Dr. Vehid Salih joins the Plymouth team from University College London. He has wide experience in studying biomaterials for tissue regeneration, mainly of musculoskeletal origin, for tissue engineering. His work covers injectable/biodegradable adhesives for bone repair and controlled drug delivery; 3D tissue engineering models for oral disease investigations; and other tissue regeneration and tissue engineering projects related to oral health and care.

He has successfully supervised numerous dental MSc/MClinDent, DDent and PhD students. He has taught on a variety of other courses throughout his research career including undergraduate medicine and MSc courses in Medical Physics and Tissue and Regenerative Medicine. He was programme leader for the Clinical Sciences and Research Methods course at the Eastman Dental Institute which involved programme development and coordination. He was also a tutor on the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in higher education acting as mentor and advisor to new lecturers at UCL.

As primary and co-applicant, Dr. Salih has been responsible for grant income of over £1million.

Dr. Louise Belfield is a Plymouth University success story. She began working as a dental nurse at South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2001, both in general practice and then as a locum in dental specialties. During her time as a locum she undertook a BSc in Human Biosciences at Plymouth University and wrote her dissertation on the effects of titanium oxide and calcium phosphate on microphage responses to Porphyromonas gingivalis lipopolysaccharide.

After graduating, Dr. Belfield continued to study oral immunology at Plymouth with a PhD entitled “Interactions between pathogenic bacteria and microphages in oral pathology.”

Dr. Belfield has been appointed a lecturer in biomedical sciences at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, where she will carry out research in oral immunology and be involved in planning and delivering the new five-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree.

Dr. Svetislav Zaric joins Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry from the University of Aberdeen, where he was a clinical lecturer.

His research interests include microbiology of periodontal diseases, host-pathogen interactions (TLRs) and immunopathogenic mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of periodontitis (endotoxin tolerance). He is particularly interested in the chemical composition of Porphyromonas gingivalis LPS, with regards to its lipid-A structure and sialylation, and in consequences these changes have on the host’s immune response. Other areas of his research interest are molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for tissue injury during inflammation and identification of therapeutic targets for resolution of inflammation.

The appointments of Drs. Salih, Belfield and Zaric come hard on the heels of the arrival at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry of internationally recognised dental researcher, Dr. Bing Hu.

Professor David Moles, Director of Postgraduate Dental Education and Research at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, commented: “Vehid, Louise and Svetislav join an ever-growing dental research team here in Plymouth. Their skills, knowledge and expertise will further enhance our research portfolio which received a significant boost recently with the appointment of Dr. Bing Hu. We are looking forward to working with them in developing new and exciting research projects.”

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